Why Prologues are Pointless

Full disclaimer: I hate prologues. This isn’t to say I’ll hurl a book into a shark tank if it has a prologue*, but in most cases I’d prefer it if the author stripped out the prologue like the unnecessary husk it is.

(*Mainly because I don’t have a shark tank. Sigh.)

So, why do I think prologues are pointless? Let’s start by defining what a prologue is.

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Editing Tip # 1: Why your Pet Phrases might need to be put down:

Pet phrases are frequently-used expressions that slip into our writing without us even noticing. These repeated phrase are at best unnecessary and at worst distracting to readers.

Pet phrases are words that we like to write. A lot. Most of the time we don’t even notice writing them. Even if you’re looking out for them, they can take a lot of discipline to find.

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Choosing your Tense and Point-of-View – Part 2

Yesterday we looked at the different tenses and point-of-views (POVs). This week I’m taking some time to evaluate the pros and cons of each tense and POV. If you haven’t read part 1 of this article, check that out before reading any further. 

Again, let’s start with the Point of Views (POVs), using ‘John’ as our main character. I’ve given the most time to first person and third person limited, as these are the two most common POVs:

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Choosing your Tense and Point-of-View – Part 1

Your story’s point-of-view and tense has a huge impact on your novel’s structure and feel. Done well, your POV and tense will work seamlessly together to create an engaging tale with compelling characters. Done poorly, the reader can be left feeling disjunct from what’s happening. This article is a short introduction to the main POV’s and tenses, as well as tips for using them.

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What ‘Write What You Know’ Really Means

Like ‘Show, don’t tell’ (a hypocritically telling phrase in itself), the ‘Write What You Know’ mantra is often thrown around with no explanation.

So what does it mean? Does it mean you can only write about your own experiences? Does it mean your story should be an autobiography? Does it mean you can’t have a female narrator if you’re a male writer?

Nope. ‘Write What You Know’ isn’t about limitations. It’s not there to stop you writing cool stuff. It’s there to make your writing more realistic. Because ‘Write What You Know’ really means: ‘Write What You’ve Felt.’

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The Most Important Trait of Compelling Protagonists

Your protagonist must grip readers. He or she must yank readers into your story and drag them along the twisting track that is your plot, never weakening their grip for a second. Under his/her spell, readers should have no hesitation about skipping meals (or sleep) if it means they can be with the protagonist a little longer.

Obviously there’s no one way to achieve this. You need to do a few things to make a captivating protagonist. But if you want your protagonist to be gripping, captivating and compelling, your protagonist must have one essential trait:

Your protagonist must make unusual decisions.

Your story will be staler than month-old bread if your protagonist makes predictable choices. You just can’t create suspense if readers know what’s going to happen.

So how can you get your protagonists to make unusual decisions?

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